The UKnighted celebration opened with a dynamic video highlighting the work faculty, staff, students, and alumni accomplished throughout this past year under the leadership of President Ajay Nair.
“As I’ve said, it is not my desire to merely have aspirational values,” said Dr. Nair to the Arcadia University community at the celebration on April 2. “These values must be lived. Today, our community members will showcase these values in their work and experiences. As a community, we are transitioning to a strong future.”
The celebration showcases Arcadians embracing the lived values every day—adaptability, fearlessness, intellectual freedom, excellence, justice, integrity, respect and responsibility. From rebuilding houses in Puerto Rico for Alternative Spring Break to ensuring that students’ basic needs are met with the food pantry, students, alumni, faculty and staff showed how their efforts are improving Arcadia and communities around the world. Watch the video.
Dr. Angela McNeil, program director for Act 101 and Gateway to Success, and Jordan Beck ’20 discussed how the origin of the Knights for Nutrition Food Pantry and its success, noting the more than 425 visits from 125 students and the added support from the Public Health program, Metz, and The College of Global Studies.
“Once you’ve fulfilled the basic needs of students,” said Beck, “they can experience Arcadia to the fullest extent.”
In a video presentation from London, Amanda Dombroski ’19 discussed how she is examining UK mental health policy and its progression from the 1700s to today, with projections of where it could go in the future.
Kiara Jacoby ’20 and Julisa Linton ’21 showcased their work for the Community and Civic Engagement Center (CCEC). Jacoby, who on her first Alternative Spring Break (ASB) rescued a dog named Spackle, continued volunteering with CCEC after building relationships through her work to bring Spackle to Pennsylvania. Since then, she’s been working with Suenos, an education organization in Guatemala. Linton highlighted the globalized community the University creates through its service trips and study abroad, remarking that even weeks later she still keeps in contact with the homeowners they assisted on ASB.
Olivia Grajewski ’20 introduced the community to her work on campus in collaboration with Amnesty International for an “I welcome” resolution, which would be a campus agreement to welcome refugees into the community. From Reading, Pa., Grajewski plans to establish an “I welcome” resolution in her hometown over the summer.
“I was devastated to learn that less than 15 minutes from my house was a detention center housing women, children and families,” said Grajewski. “I had to do something.”
Melanin in Action (MIA) President Elijah Wilson ’19 discussed last year’s Day of Silence, and how MIA, along with Power; Pan-African Studies; Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Department; Office of the Provost; Young Democratic Socialists of Arcadia University; and Act 101/Gateway to Success organized a program and workshop to discuss racism in the campus community and beyond, and created a plan for addressing these issues.
“At Arcadia, we believe that justice is not something that happens over night,” said Wilson. “We know we have to get our hands dirty.”
Dr. Aroline Hanson, assistant professor of Modern Languages and Cultures, followed with a discussion about her work with the Brunca people. “Bringing Back Brunca,” a hands-on project for which she received the Marie-Louise and Eugene Jackson International Fund for Student and Faculty Development award in 2018, investigates ways to teach interested Brunca people their native language that had been nearly lost during colonization. She has helped the Costa Rican tribe develop supporting materials and resources for children and adults to learn Brunca.
The final presentation was by Chelsey Webber-Brandis ’18, an alumna who worked on the “Bits and Pieces” mural at Glenside Station. Webber-Brandis discussed how her work on “Bits and Pieces” has since led to additional collaboration with world renowned David Guinn, adjunct professor of Visual and Performing Arts, as well as the start of an MFA program at Moore College of Art and Design.
Following the presentations, the community was invited to share in food from the Glenside area, including some of the University’s KnightCard vendors including Humpty’s Dumplings, Tiffin, Jasmine and Trevi's.